Man charged with arson after Houston curiosity shop noted for bizarre collections is destroyed

Firefighters responded to a blaze at an iconic Houston curiosity shop on Friday.
Firefighters responded to a blaze at an iconic Houston curiosity shop on Friday.

A Houston store noted for its collection of bizarre, odd and macabre items was nearly destroyed by fire Friday afternoon, authorities said.

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According to officials with the Houston Fire Department, a man walked into the Wilde Collection store, poured two cans of gasoline inside and then ignited it with a match, KHOU reported.

Update 8:58 a.m. ET Nov. 3: Houston police arrested a man and charged him with arson in a fire that destroyed the Wilde Collection curiosities store, according to court documents.

Jonathan Jindra was arrested and charged Saturday, KHOU reported. The Harris County District Attorney's Office is seeking a $35,000 bond, the television station reported..

Original report: The man, who walked out of the store, was detained by bystanders until police arrived, the Houston Chronicle reported.

“Some bystanders and an off-duty police officer detained the suspect until HPD arrived and put them under arrest,” Houston Fire Department District Chief Joseph Leggio told reporters.

Officials have not released a motive for the arson, KHOU reported. Leggio told reporters the man knows the store's owner and daughter, the television station reported.

According to its website, the Wilde Collection is a place where customers "can purchase anything from unusual and bizarre art, artifacts from around the world, as well as peruse our fascinating collection of items believed to have a haunted history."

The store, which houses several animals, lost a cat and a snake to the fire, according to a video posted on Facebook by the shop's owner, Lawyer B. Douglas.

Fire officials said at least half of the store is considered a total loss, KHOU reported. Water and smoke damaged the remaining half of the store, fore officials said.

Douglas has started a GoFundMe page to raise money to renovate the store.

"We are completely devastated and at a loss for words," Douglas wrote. "Your outpouring words of support and encouragement have given us the will to rise from our ashes. 

"We have never done anything like this and there is a part in us that feels uncomfortable asking for your help."

While police have arrested one man, no charges had been filed as of late Friday, KHOU reported. Arson investigators did confirm they are looking into a threat made early Friday on Twitter that matches the suspect's name, the television station reported.